HCDE instructional staff prepare to welcome students back

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August 17, 2023 by HCDE Communications

HCDE divisions are gearing up for the new school year! Head Start and Therapy Services recently held annual back-to-school events for staff to provide division updates, training, and community-building activities.  

On August 8, early childhood educators gathered for a day of fellowship during Head Start’s back-to-school rally at the Humble Civic Center. The event hosts all Head Start and Early Head Start staff from all campuses, including teachers, teaching assistants, campus managers, cooks, custodians, administrative staff, and executive leadership.  

This year’s rally played into a butterfly theme as a metaphor for renewal, growth, and new opportunities. Attendees donned flower and butterfly antenna headbands as they participated in group discussions and collaborative activities. Staff heard from keynote speaker Dr. Chaney Ledet, the recruitment manager for the Center for Educator Success, who spoke on personal responsibility, mindfulness, mental health, and intentionality in putting the needs of students first.  

Head Start Senior Director Venetia Peacock closed the day by discussing changes within the division, updated staff on capital improvement projects, cost of living adjustments, and shared her vision and goals for the upcoming school year. The first day of school for Head Start campuses is Monday, August 21.  

Superintendent James Colbert Jr. and Asst. Supt. for Academic Support Services Jonathan Parker addressed the more than 170 school-based therapists during Therapy Services’ returning staff orientation on August 8-9 at the North Post Oak building. Colbert and Parker were among several speakers who emphasized the importance of self-care and well-being in the school-based environment.  

“Our main focus for the new school year is to continue to provide excellent services to our students in the districts we serve,” Therapy Services Senior Director Carie Crabb said. “Excellence is always our number one focus. To achieve that, we focus on providing excellent professional development for my staff to be the best they can be so they can give their best to students.”  

As part of the orientation, Officer of School Safety and Security Jeremy Foster from the Center for Safe and Secure Schools led a seminar on school safety to provide therapists with best practices to keep themselves and students safe during emergencies. Keynote speaker and longtime educator Dr. Lindsey Pollock shared tips on how to manage stress and stressful situations like Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings. Staff were also provided with legal and licensure updates from division leaders.

To learn more about HCDE Head Start, visit hcde-texas.org/head-start.

To learn more about HCDE School-Based Therapy Services, visit hcde-texas.org/school-therapy.

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